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Turner’s shootout saves, Pepi’s winning penalty leads MLS stars past Liga MX stars


Matt Turner and Ricardo Pepi are both enjoying dream years, and both continued their outstanding 2021 campaigns by delivering heroics at the 2021 MLS All-Star Game.

Turner made a pair of penalty shootout saves, setting up Pepi to secure the victory by blasting home the winning penalty kick to give the MLS All-Stars the win against the Liga MX contingent.

The Liga MX side drew first blood in the first half, with Cruz Azul striker Jonathan Rodriguez scoring in the 20th minute, beating Pedro Gallese to give the visitors the advantage.

Diego Rossi nearly equalized in the first half in front of his home LAFC fans at Banc of California Stadium, but Club America and Mexican national team defender Jorge Sanchez pulled off an acrobatic goal-line clearance to keep the score 1-0 Liga MX heading into the second half.

It would be another LAFC player that would tie things up, with defender Jesus Murillo heading home a corner kick from LAFC teammate Eduard Atuesta in the 81st minute.

MLS All-Stars coach Bob Bradley eventually inserted Turner and fellow Gold Cup-winning U.S. men’s national team players James Sands and George Bello to partner with Miles Robinson in keeping Liga MX from finding any more goals.

When the match ended 1-1, the All-Star festivities went to a penalty shootout, which became Turner’s time to shine. The New England Revolution goalkeeper denied Mexico striker Rogelio Funes Mori from the spot, bringing back memories of the multiple saves he made on Funes Mori in the Gold Cup final.

Turner also saved a Salvador Reyes penalty to set up Orlando City’s Nani with a chance to clinch the victory, but the Portuguese legend sent his attempt wide of the mark to keep Liga MX in the shootout.

After a Liga MX conversion, the shootout came down to Pepi, who stepped up confidently and blasted a shot off the underside of the crossbar to secure the win for the MLS All-Stars

Turner was named All-Star Game MVP, while Pepi received his share of plaudits for confidently converting the winning penalty.

What did you think of the MLS All-Star Game? Who impressed you the most? Would you like to see MLS stick to this same format, facing a team of Liga MX stars?

Share your thoughts below.




  1. Did anyone see Turner’s bench interview with Holden & Strong? He wanted the MLS to equalize. He wanted to come on the 60’, and the match to go to penalty kicks! He wanted to save some penalties and win the match. He wants to be in those big moments! That’s gotta give confidence to the US fan base! They announced in game, Ricardo would be called in, for WC qualifying. Post-match interview, he was asked about it. He dodged the question so smoothly!! The Texican got a lot of maturity!! That was impressive, 2nd to scoring the winning penalty kick, of course. This match was similar to any pro Allstar game. It’s hard to analyze players who are happy to be there and not get hurt. It was fun to watch, tho! Last but not least, I know, I’m one of the the 3, Orlando City supporters here. Does anyone honestly think, Dike would not be top 5 in goals in the MLS, right now? Nani, on his left, Mueller on his right, an improved Benji Michele, with Van Der Water, and a solid midfield?! CJ Sapong has 9. Dike was loaned to Barnsley, remember? Had he been with Orlando to begin the season, he would’ve been in the all star match.

      • I haven’t seen any reports on Dike’s health, so I’m assuming Orlando is keeping out because of a big transfer.

    • Orlando Sentinel reported he just returned to training this week after being out with shoulder tendinitis after the GC.

  2. I thought it was a very well played game for 2 all star teams and they were pretty evenly matched. It wouldn’t bother me if the4y kept this format for a while. As far as UIS players, Matt Turner is just playhing top notch and I would trust him in goal against anyone. The one thing that stood out for me was Walker Zimmerman. He looked pretty bad. At least 3 clearances that were very poor, hardly clearing anything, at least one pass that went right to an opposition player and he looked like anything but someone who won a defensive player of the year award. Based on his performance, if I were USMNT coach, I wouldn’t even invite him in for the qualifiers. Bring in Robinson and maybe Miazga or CCV or even Richards at Bayern.

  3. I agree that there are people scoring more than Pepi. We could take a Bunbury in easily and validate it by saying that he is hot in mls right now. Does that make him worthy of a call up because he is older? Pepi came into a high paced game and it took him a while to get into it. No question. But it’s not like we have a plethora of quality at the #9. If he was a winger sure leave him out but as a striker it can’t hurt to take a look. Sargent and JS will get the minutes and would be crazy if they dident. USSoccer has just lost at least two Promising talent in the recent months. If they want to get the burden of racism half of their back,it’s just another reason to invite a young kid like Pepi

    • ??? Bunbury has 2g, Pepi and Sapong are tied with 9 as most for an American in MLS. So no, no one is scoring more than Pepi.

  4. That was a fun break, sooooo much better than the “lets bring in Bayern Munich” mentality, have the announcers drool, then when MLS beats em watch Pep not shake hands…the press would cover that for sure….like we need to hear MORE about those teams.

    ……we now join MLS already in progress, when we last left off the Sounders looked incredible. New England was going to sell Buchanan and Chicago stunk. Lets see what changes…spoiler alert, Chicago wont change.

  5. I have no issue at all if Turner starts this group of qualifiers.the man is playing well and showing up in the big moments all year. Ives is absolutely right when it comes to Pepi as well. He deserves a call up even if he may not be willing to commit just yet. If he is not yet ready to play for us is there really any harm in using the same logic to Cade Cowell or Caden Clark?

      • Agree, even last nights match the speed of the game was too fast for Pepi. What is expected of a quality striker 1 goal out of 3 opportunities. Don’t get me wrong the dude shows promise but there are adults making a living ahead of him

    • Twomilerule–I didn’t see a lot of MLS strikers scoring last night. At least Pepi got some shots off and one, saved by the keeper, resulted in a rebound. And he had the best penalty kick of anyone.

    • Twomilerule, one thing I myself saw is that Pepi just wasn’t quite “dialed up” to that level – which certainly approximated International level, it was as least as skilled as a USMNT/El Tri match. But it was fascinating to see how fast some of the young guys like Miles Robinson and George Bello have adapted; I dunno if anybody noticed but I thought Bello was having a man-of-the-match type performance before Turner started standing on his head, the dude was up and down the field and EVERYWHERE and the kid was clearly buoyed by his prior start against El Tri and was playing some really good ball; Bello certainly wasn’t skeered and he’s had, what, all of three appearances for the USMNT now? The good ones dial up in a hurry; Bello certainly wasn’t looking like that his first USMNT appearance.
      I think Pepi will be fine. Guy has the skill and the physical talent, he just needs to get his pace of play and speed of thought dialed up…and I think he will. It’s not going to be a case like Dike where a basic lack of skills got exposed and he has to seriously build major segments of his game before he’s ready for the level.
      I liked what I saw from Pepi. For a first appearance at that level, not bad. And that PK will likely give him some confidence he can survive there.

      • I saw the same thing from Bello. He is playing with confidence. The kid is evolving into a solid USA player. I hope he gets called for these qualifiers.

      • I simply love hearing people seeing what I am with Bello. Guy was a big surprise on the starting team sheet at the GC final, and turned in a low-key excellent performance that somehow escaped the attention of everyone. This kid is legit and I love that it’s happening for him.

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